One of the ways that many of us waste money is paying for things that we could get at a much lower cost — or even for free. You might be surprised at the number of things that are available at little to no cost to you. If you have an Internet connection, or if you have some creativity, you can save a great deal of money on just about any product or service you can think of.
Before you buy another copy of MS Office, shell out for anti-virus protection, buy a book, or pay ATM fees, consider your options. There might be no need to pay at all.
One of the ways that you can really save is by getting free software alternatives, rather than spending money on pricey alternatives. Some of the ways you can save include:
- Instead of MS Office, try Google Docs  or OpenOffice .
- Instead of paying for Norton or McAffee, you can try AVG  or avast! . You can also get reasonably priced paid versions of these alternatives. Microsoft Security Essentials  can also be helpful if you have Windows.
- You might not need Adobe if you have GIMP  or Inkscape . Other great graphics/media applications that can save you include Blender  instead of Autodesk Maya, and Dia  for flowcharts/diagrams.
- Get free and low cost backup and storage by trying services like Gladinet , DriveImage , and Mozy .
- If you are really interested in getting out of the Mac vs. Windows rut, you can run Ubuntu , a free operating system. You might want to run Jolicloud  if you have a smaller screen.
Other Ways to Avoid Paying for What You Use
There are other ways you can avoid paying for what you use. You probably don’t like paying ATM fees . You can avoid those by looking for truly free checking. You can even get around ATM fees by getting cash back when you use your debit card at the store.
You might not realize that there are thousands of free ebooks available. You can download them to your ereader, or to your computer, and enjoy them without paying anything. Many of these books are literary classics. You can visit Project Gutenberg  to find a wide variety of free ebooks. There are also a number of book swaps online, and chances to purchase used books for very low prices. And, of course, you can always check books out of your local library.
Head to your local library for free movie rentals, and even some TV shows. You can access TV shows for free on Hulu (or cough up a little extra for premium content), or even watch them via the web sites of the networks that air them. Netflix streaming service offers low cost access to movies and TV shows. And, of course, there’s always Redbox for cheap movie rentals. If you have an HD tuner, you can get local channels in HD — for free. If you plan it right, you can pay much less for TV and movies , and even take them with you wherever you go.
What are your favorite ways to get access to free services?
(Photo: jcorrius )